BRASILIA, BRAZIL — With strong demand, high prices domestically and internationally and diminishing uncertainty over fertilizer availability, Brazil’s corn production is expected to increase and planted acres are set to reach a new record, according to a report from the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

The corn area forecast for 2022-23 is 22.5 million hectares, up from 21.7 million in 2021-22. Production is forecast at 120 million tonnes, a slight increase from the previous forecast.

FAS said the initial fear that Brazil would run out of fertilizers because of last year’s sanctions against Belarus and the current conflict in Ukraine has not materialized. Brazil imported 35% more fertilizers in May than the previous month and showed a 63% increase in fertilizers imported from Russia in May, compared to April.

Brazil plants corn throughout the year, divided into three crops. First-crop corn is usually planted between September and December and sown between January and May. The bulk of Brazil’s corn production is the second-season corn, or ‘safrinha’ corn, which is planted from December to March, usually following the soybean harvest.

With the harvest of first season crops underway and the second and third crops in the sowing phase, Brazil is heading for a new production record in the 2021-22 harvest, despite an expected drop in production of second-season corn due to weather conditions, FAS said. Nevertheless, this record production will likely be less groundbreaking than initially forecasted since some regions are facing low rainfall.

Corn exports are forecast at 46.5 million tonnes 2022-23, up 2 million tonnes from 2021-22, due to the expectation of a record harvest and high international demand.

“Exports may also be given a boost with the recently signed agreement between the Brazilian and Chinese governments, which foresees the sale of Brazilian corn to the Asian country once phytosanitary requirements are met,” FAS said. “However, lower production figures can ultimately impact the availability of corn to be exported.”